Sotheby’s Enters India, To Have First Auction in December

The auction will feature one of Tyeb Mehta’s most iconic works, Durga Mahisasura Mardini, the treasured art piece which has been away from the public eye since 1993.


Leading British auction house Sotheby is all set to make its launch in India with their first event ‘Boundless: Mumbai’ auction scheduled for December 2018.

The inaugural sale will feature 60 artworks including some of the finest pieces of South Asian artists along with masterpieces by western artists which were broadly inspired and influenced by the art, culture, geography, and people of South Asia.

The auction will also feature one of Tyeb Mehta’s most important works, Durga Mahisasura Mardini, which is also going to be their first sale. The treasured art piece has remained in a private collection since 1993 when it was directly commissioned from the maestro.

“It is among the most valuable works of modern South Asian art ever to be offered at auction,” a Sotheby statement read.

Yamini Mehta, International Head of Indian & South Asian Art at Sotheby’s said, “One of the most important artists in the country and a leading figure in the history of Indian modernism, Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Durga Mahisasura Mardini’ is possibly the most important work in the artist’s oeuvre. A symbol of victory of good over evil, this painting celebrates the spirit of India. It is one of most provocative portrayals of goddess Durga defeating the mythical buffalo demon, Mahisasura. The painting celebrates hope and renewal instilled in Indian mythology and reconnects with Indian values. The oblique allusion to the colors of the Indian flag makes it a brilliant and powerful ode to the spirit of the country. This painting is a prelude to the artist’s iconic ‘Celebrations’ and ‘Mahisasura’ series, making it amongst the artist’s most significant and rarest works.”

Another composition which will be at the forefront of the auction is a rare handiwork of an artist that has not been seen in public in eight years. Amrita Sher-Gill’s The Little Girl in Blue will adorn the auction with the exquisiteness that it offers. “The Little Girl in Blue depicts the artist’s 8-year-old neighbor, Lalit ‘Babit’ Kaur. Her mother, Lady Buta Singh, was a close friend who lived next door to Sher-Gil’s paternal uncle, Sunder Singh Majithia at Nowshera House. The painting has been treasured in the same family collection ever since it was acquired at the artist’s first solo show in 1937 by Charles Fabri – an eminent art critic who is rumored to have become the artist’s lover.”

Speaking about their new venture in India, Jan Prasens, Sotheby’s Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, Russia, and India said, “In recent years, we have witnessed both the ever-growing presence of Indian collectors in Sotheby’s global auctions and the development of an increasingly vibrant domestic Indian art market. Given these promising signs, and the projected economic growth for India in the future, it is the right time for Sotheby’s to further expand the services we offer our clients in the region, and to bring our auctions directly to the doorstep of the many collectors who live there.”

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